Dogs are man’s best friends. They are loyal, friendly and protective of their owners. All too often, however, oftentimes we neglect to take care of them as well as they take care of us. One of the biggest ways that dog owners in America neglect their pets is by overfeeding them. Overfeeding a dog causes it to gain weight, which can lead to a shorter life span and other health complications. Sometimes simply switching to the best diet dog food can add years to your pet’s life! Here are a few tips dog owners can follow to ensure their animals maintain a healthy weight.
How to Help an Overweight Dog Lose Weight
Couch Potato Dogs
Believe it or not, America’s dogs have serious weight problems. There are an estimated 35 million overweight dogs around the nation. This weight problem causes these poor canines to have illnesses such as tumors, lung problems, arthritis, diabetes and any number of other maladies. Dogs that are a healthy weight and eat right typically live an average of 2+ years longer than overweight dogs. They also don’t have nearly as many medical conditions.
Even though half the dogs that veterinarians see are overweight, some dog owners have a hard time believing their pet is too heavy. After all, not every dog owner can easily tell if their dog is putting on too many pounds. Sometimes these dogs are simply labeled as being ‘big boned’, and aren’t given proper care. Poor pooch! Weight problems aren’t only the result of overeating, either. Some overweight dog owners report that their pet is a light eater. A dog who leads a sedentary lifestyle – doesn’t get enough exercise and eats the wrong types of food – can also experience weight problems. Simply giving your dog the best diet dog food can bring their weight down up to 80 lbs. depending on the breed!
If you think your dog may be overweight, never fear. The solution to any weight problem is quite simple. If you consume more calories than you burn in a day, you will gain weight. If, on the other hand, you consume fewer calories than you burn in a day, you will lose weight. Let your doggie eat a dog diet with lower calories, and help them exercise more often. You may find these healthy traits bleeding over into your own life as well. Pretty soon, you will both be in tip-top-shape.
One important thing every pet owner can do is to take their dog to the vet to check its ideal weight. Every dog breed is different, and this weight may vary from dog-to-dog within a breed as well. Your vet can also screen your dog for any pre-existing health conditions they may have, like diabetes or hypothyroidism. You can also visit the website of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention to find listings with information on the ideal range for different breeds.
Figuring out the right amount of food for your dog can be tough. Something many people don’t know is that the instructions that come on the label of dog food aren’t geared towards weight loss, but weight maintenance. This means that if you simply follow your dog food’s instructions then your pet may never lose weight. We recommend that you use dogfoodadvisor’s dog food calculator. This tool is great for helping you learn about the calories your dog is getting, and how much they should be burning. Choosing the best diet dog food for your pet will be much easier with the help of a calculator like this. Remember to adjust the amounts based on your dog’s breed, activity level, and age. Some dogs may require additional assistance from a vet to help them lose weight.
Say No to Free Choice Feeding Method
The free choice feeding method allows your dog to access as much food as they want at any time. If your dog is overweight, this is definitely not going to help them lose weight. Some dogs, just like some people, will eat simply because they are bored. Instead, use a measuring cup to give your dog the amount of food you want them to have. You can use a timed auto feeder as well if your life is particularly hectic. By controlling the portions of food your dog eats you will be able to effectively count their calories and help them to lose weight. Remember to factor in the calories from any treats you give them as well.
Choose the Best Diet Dog Food
Sure, you want the best dog food for your best friend. Remember, though, that just because the package says your dog food is healthy doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for your dog. Not all brands are equal, with some using carbohydrate fillers instead of meat, which can make weight loss much more difficult. Know what’s in the dog food you’re giving dog at all times. Read the ingredients labels carefully, and be sure they like it as well. Dogs have opinions on food as well, and if your pet doesn’t like the food you chose they may develop the opposite problem and stop eating altogether.
Less Food, More Begging
Because your dog is being given less food, you might notice that he or she is begging more. Remember that your pet is on a diet and do not restart the trend of overfeeding. The best diet dog food will have a combination of ingredients that give you lower calories, less fat and great amounts of protein. With more protein, your doggy should feel fuller after meals, and will eventually grow accustomed to it. The nutrients will also be good for their bones and teeth. Don’t give in to those puppy dog eyes!
Exercise Is Also Important
Along with a healthy diet, remember to walk your dog frequently. Typically you should be walking your dog at least once a day for 15 – 30 minutes, but you’re welcome to get out more often than that as well. It’s hard to walk your dog too often! If your dog is frequently pulling and straining at their leash, you may consider buying a No-Pull Harness. They come in a variety of sizes and colors to fit your dog’s personality, and will make walks more enjoyable for the both of you!
As your dog sheds their excess weight, they will become more active and burn more calories. You will then need to readjust their diet. Do follow-ups with your Vet to monitor your pet’s health, and continue to feed them the best dog food. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!